The Symbolism of the Christian Temple
That sacred art no longer exists today is all too clear, despite the intense efforts of some to make us believe in the value, in this respect, of the most questionable productions. We can perhaps speak of a religious but certainly not a sacred art; indeed, between these two notions lies a radical difference rather than a nuance. True sacred art is not of a sentimental or psychological, but of an ontological and cosmological nature. This being so, sacred art will no longer appear to be the result of the feelings, fantasies, or even ‘thought’ of the artist, as with modern art, but rather the translation of a reality largely surpassing the limits of human individuality. Sacred art is precisely a supra-human art. The temple of former times was an ‘instrument’ of recollection, joy, sacrifice, and exaltation. First through the harmonious combination of a thousand symbols founded in the total symbol that it itself is, then by offering itself as a receptacle to the symbols of the liturgy, the temple together with the liturgy constitute the most prodigious formula capable of preparing man to become aware of the descent of Grace, of the epiphany of the Spirit in corporeity. It is a matter of urgency, then, to recall what is true sacred art, especially since—praise God—here and there more and more active signs of resistance to the anarchy and subversion manifest themselves, and a pressing call is felt to recover the traditional conceptions that must form the basis and condition of any restoration.
Table of Contents
Theological Symbolism and Cosmological Symbolism—The Celestial Origin of the Temple—Temple and Cosmos—Numerical Harmonies—Ritual Orientation—The Temple, Body of the God-Man—'Corpus Mysticum'—Bells and Belfries—Stoup and Baptistery—The Door—Labyrinths—The Altar and Christ—The Altar: Lights on the Holy Mountain—Space and Time, Temple and Liturgy—'Sol Justitiae'—The Light of Easter—The Mass and the Building of the Spiritual Temple